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Prevalence and Predictors of Driving after Prescription Opioid Use in an Adult ED Sample

  • Author(s): Dora-Laskey, Aaron D.
  • Goldstick, Jason E.
  • Arterberry, Brooke J.
  • Roberts, Suni Jo
  • Haffajee, Rebecca L.
  • Bohnert, Amy S.B.
  • Cunningham, Rebecca M.
  • Carter, Patrick M/
  • et al.
Abstract

Introduction: Prescription opioid use and driving is a public health concern given the risks associated with drugged driving, but the issue remains under-studied. We examined the prevalence and correlates of driving after taking prescription opioids (DAPO) among adults seeking emergency department (ED) treatment.

Methods: Participants (aged 25-60) seeking ED care at a Level I trauma center completed a computerized survey. Validated instruments measured prescription opioid use, driving behaviors, and risky driving. Patients who reported past three-month prescription opioid use and drove at least twice weekly were administered an extended study survey measuring DAPO, depression, pain, and substance use.

Results: Among participants completing the screening survey (n = 756; mean age = 42.8 [standard deviation {SD} =10.4]), 37.8% reported past three-month prescription opioid use (30.8% of whom used daily), and 14.7% reported past three-month DAPO. Of screened participants, 22.5% (n = 170) were eligible for the extended study survey. Unadjusted analyses demonstrated that participants reporting DAPO were more likely to use opioids daily (51.1% vs 15.9%) and had higher rates of opioid misuse (mean Current Opioid Misuse Measure score 3.4 [SD = 3.8] vs 1.1 [SD = 2.1]) chronic pain (80.7% vs 42.7%), and driving after marijuana or alcohol use (mean intoxicated driving score 2.1 [SD = 1.3] vs 0.3 [SD = 0.8]) compared to patients not reporting DAPO (all p<0.001). Adjusting for age, gender, employment, and insurance in a logistic regression model, participants reporting DAPO were more likely to report a chronic pain diagnosis (odds ratio [OR] = 3.77, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.55-9.17), daily opioid use (OR = 3.81, 95% CI, 1.64-8.85), and higher levels of intoxicated driving (OR = 1.62, 95% CI, 1.07-2.45). Alcohol and marijuana use, depression, and opioid misuse were not associated with DAPO in adjusted analyses.

Conclusion: Nearly one in six adult patients seeking ED care reported DAPO. The ED may be an important site for interventions addressing opioid-related drugged driving.

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